Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Blue Ash

Blue Ash

Fraxinus quadrangulata

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; soils include coarse sandy or gravelly loams to fine silt loams; pH adaptable.

50-75 feet height by 35-50 feet spread; yellow to purple flowers on separate male and female trees in spring; female trees produce drooping, clusters of tan-brown seeds, 1-2 inches long.

Growth Rate: Medium

Maintenance: Brittle branches susceptible to wind damage. Infrequent disease problems and frequent insect problems. Emerald ash borer has wreaked havoc on native ash.

Propagation: Moderately easy from seed and somewhat difficult to propagate. Seeds can be sown outdoors as soon as collected or stored and apply germination code C (30-60) at 41 degrees F.

Native Region: Middle and East Tennessee

Attractive tree that develops a slender, somewhat tapered trunk and a narrow, rounded crown of spreading branches. Prefers consistently moist, humusy loams but is one of the best of the ashes for dry sites. Common name comes from fact that exposed wood turns bluish as it dries out. Early Americans made a blue dye from the inner bark. Quadrangulata means 4-angled and refers to the four corky ridges on the twigs, a trait unique to the blues ashes.

This species should be used with caution due to susceptibility to Emerald ash borer (EAB). Once infested, damage is very difficult to control.   Although all our native ashes are susceptible to EAB, preliminary research shows that Blue Ash is relatively resistant, making it likely that this species will survive the EAB invasion.

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